As part of the effort to combat the spread of misinformation and fake news, popular instant messaging service WhatsApp has rolled out a new feature on Monday (3 Aug) which allows users to fact-check messages with ease.
The new feature allows users to find news results or other sources of information about the content they have received by tapping a magnifying glass button next to the messages that have been forwarded.
“This feature works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself,” said the instant messaging service.
Detailing how the feature works, it showed a message which claims that “Drinking fresh boiled garlic water will cure COVID-19”.
When the message was uploaded to the Google website, the web search results showed that the news is fake.
Image Source: WhatsApp BlogThe fact-checking feature is being rolled out as a pilot in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS, and WhatsApp Web.
Earlier in April, WhatsApp has decided to limit the forwarding of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time by introducing a “special forwarded label” to messages shared in chats that have been forwarded many times.
Messages forwarded many times are marked with double arrows to indicate that they did not originate from a close contact.
The instant messaging service stated that its previous implementation of a restriction on such forwarded messages has led to a 25 per cent decrease in the forwarding of such messages at the time.
WhatsApp said that while it acknowledges that not all forwarding is bad, given that “many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful”, many people have also been using the app to spread misinformation.
“We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation,” it added.